ReWilded Soaps and Shampoos

It seems a strange and wrong assumption of the general public that living in the wilds means being perpetually dirty. Yet, I get students all the time that assume that they’ll not be washing at all for their stay here, and they seem shocked and slightly let down when I hand them a chunk of Yucca root and tell them to take themselves to the river and wash LOL.

Being in the SW, we use dried Yucca root for soap/shampoo. Works great, even gets nice and foamy, works even better if you can powder it, but good luck without an industrial grinder. We also use a scrub made with sea salt and honey and various local herbs for washing too. It smells nice as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

What do other people do to stay unsmelly and clean without civ products?

I don’t know. I do know that I want to make REWILDed deodorants from scratch out of local wild plants and stuff I know of and get.

I used yucca root when I lived in TX. We have a few yuccas here, but I wonder what other plants have enough saponins to work as a soap.

A good scrub with just water, though, gets you pretty clean. I learned that lesson from my grimy dogs who always looked so fluffy and clean after a rain. “How did you get that clean with just water?” I wondered. So I tried it, and realized that water alone gets you pretty damn clean.

Well, there’s soapwort ;D

Also, you can get saponins from quinoa rinse water, and I think maybe horsechestnuts…?

Thanks, jhereg.

I hadn’t heard of soapwort. I have heard of sweet william. I guess people use that term around here. Hmm, now to find some.

yeah, that’s the trick. i have an easier time finding yucca, and i’m in ohio!

tempted to mail order seeds and start cultivating it…

I remeber a old health teacher saying that the only thing soap does when you wash is make you smell nice, and that the actual friction is what cleans you… I remember that some people (Im pretty sure it was pioneers but im not sure) simply used to take a porus peice of metal and scrape at their skin with it so essentially rub the skin flakes off…

Actually soap binds with the oil on your skin (or whatever surface it’s cleaning) allowing water to rinse it off. Here’s the scientific jargon if you like that kind of thing.

I love this thread!

In my simpler living experiments, I found out I prefer to bathe without soap most of the time, except when I get extra super grungy. I do dry brush, so maybe that helps, it gets the dead skin off and brings blood to the surface. Still no success with the no-shampoo experiment, although I’m testing the limits on frequency. . . just water works sometimes. Y’all who have used it, I’m curious how the yucca makes your skin feel?

I think the oils (and microbial community) on our skin give some really important protection–from the sun (I think vit D absorption requires them too), when you get cuts, helps retain moisture. . . Maybe, too, not to having to constantly rebuild it strains your body less–I hear that takes 24-48 hours–when it keeps getting thoroughly removed every day? And what about the smell factor, I’m not talking about b.o. People have interesting smells. Sometimes you get to know the smells (does scents sound better?) of people you’re close to a lot, I like that experience!

For deodorant, lately I use a few drops of myrrh essential oil mixed with jojoba oil. Works great, allows you to still sweat, but they import it from another bioregion and produce/distribute it industrially. :frowning: I wonder if a good substitute grows in Cascadia? Something deeply aromatic, antiseptic and antimicrobial, and generally health-supporting, probably a tree resin? ???

Hehe, yarrow dreamer, your ruminations on personal scents made me smile a secret sly smile. :slight_smile: For some reason I don’t like to use soap in the shower. Hair products are a must for me, and I admit I soap up under the arms, but as far as body soap goes, I’ve never seen the point. I just scrub.

Anyway, more than one boyfriend has fawned over the smell of my skin. Usually it gets compared to a fresh spring rain. I guess I just smell really, really good, naturally. I don’t think I told any of them that I don’t use soap. :wink: They weren’t exactly the rewilding types.

Hee hee! My husband always tells me that I smell like an onion. He married me, so I guess he must like it, right?

I love to use just plain oil instead of soap in the shower. I’ve tried things like olive oil (among other things from my kitchen) with pretty decent success but I like the shelf stability of plain old baby oil. The nice scents I can create with a few drops of essential oils in the unscented stuff makes it extra special when I want it for a very subtle all over fragrance. I’ve also thrown out all of the shaving cream in the house, even my husband’s, and we’ve switched to oil. It gives such a wonderful, smooth luster to the skin without clogging it up that we won’t be switching back any time soon. It’s even helped clear up his shave bump acne, which is a HUGE plus for him.

baby oil = mineral oil = petrol by product.

Oil doesn’t clog the razors?

here’s another soap plant: Western Soapberry

Not sure if its in abundant supply, but shark skin was traditionally used by pacific coastal people as a sandpaper…

horsetail (the plant, not an actual horses tail)
dogfish skin

Certain sedimentary rocks? (you’d have to experiment)

I know. It works with other oils as well. I just happen to have that a little handier to me in the bathroom than the food oils in my kitchen. I’m not quite as um, crunchy? as some (ok, most) of the people on here. Besides…while folks are still being oil hogs there will be waste/by-products produced. I’d rather get some use out of them than see them industrially ‘disposed’ of in landfills or whatever. At least I know my gray water is going to give me some tasty veggies in the summer.

I like rosewater quite a bit, it smells really nice. For taking a bath, sometimes I put herbs in a small cheesecloth bag and let that soak in the water. A good one for hunting is to use pine needles in the cheesecloth bag and let the water run through it and soak into the bathwater, you start smelling more like the forest after this so it’s also a good camouflage tactic.